Book Reviews

Review: White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

As a fan of Tiffany D. Jackson, I knew I had to read White Smoke. Even though I am a big scaredy cat, and I knew I’d have to read this during the day only, I am so glad I did. Somewhat of a departure from Jackson’s past books, White Smoke is full of thrills and intrigue. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.

Summary

Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. Her mom has accepted a new job with the Sterling Foundation that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty ten-year-old stepsister, Piper.

The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its . . . secrets. That’s only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there’s a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone.

But “running from ghosts” is just a metaphor, right?

As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn’t limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks.

Review

(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: anxiety

Okay, I knew White Smoke would terrify me. Supernatural vibes and ghosts? That enough was going to give me nightmares. But as someone who just had bedbugs last year, White Smoke brought me back to that terror and I was haunted. As in, I was visibly shivering and couldn’t stop thinking about White Smoke. But besides that, White Smoke is about family dynamics and the necessity to examine the past. While I could easily just focus on the ways Jackson brings her talent for intrigue, pacing and suspense, what I loved were the family dynamics.

The tension between Mari and Piper? The relationship between her and her brother? I loved that White Smoke had this fundamental tension, besides the supernatural vibes. A good foundation allows the tension between the characters and the world a good base. There’s all these forces on Mari within her life. I was captivated by White Smoke. There’s no other word for it when I finish a book in a day! White Smoke comes together to so thoroughly unsettle and create a sense of discomfort. On a macro and micro level, White Smoke delivers thrills and tension.

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It became impossible to put down as we are drawn into the deepening shadows. If you love YA horror, or Tiffany D. Jackson’s books this is an easy decision for you. While it may be something different for you, Jackson retains her sense of suspense and nuanced characters. Find White Smoke on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.

Discussion

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